How to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

How to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden – lots of ideas!

I wanted to remind you of an awesome gardening freebie: coffee grounds! Of course, you can always just save your own grounds from your daily pot of coffee, but what if you are in need of a bunch at a time?

Here’s a tip: You can often find bags like the one pictured above in a basket at Starbucks with a sign that reads “free grounds for your garden.” One time I needed some grounds but they didn’t have any out, so I just asked and they ended up giving me a huge bag full of them. If you don’t have a Starbucks, I don’t see why you couldn’t just call your local coffee shop and ask if they’d give you some. (I bet they would.)

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which can be useful for amending your soil. They also contain additional trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

So what exactly do you do with those coffee grounds? Here are some uses:

  • Add to your compost or worm bin. This is a simple method for adding a source of nitrogen to your compost.
  • Use it as a mulch. Coffee grounds can be used as a natural mulch! Erica at NW Edible attests to using them around her berry bushes and fruit trees with good results.
  • Use it as a natural insect repellent. Coffee grounds are acidic and as such, tend to repel slugs and snails! Scatter it around to provide a natural barrier for this garden pests. It may also possibly work to deter ants.
  • Feed your flowers. Flowers such as roses, rhododendrons, and azaleas prefer an acidic soil. Sprinkle and then lightly work in coffee grounds near the base of your flowers to help feed them.
  • Use it to repel cats. Cats apparently don’t like the smell of coffee (except my parents’ cat Greta who routinely licks the bottom of my dad’s coffee mug!). If you have a problem with cats in the garden, sprinkle it around. You can also use orange peel, as they hate citrus. (Or you can do what I did and just cover the tops of your garden beds with inexpensive plastic sheeting!)
  • Feed your peas. I personally like to use coffee grounds when growing peas as they do well in acidic soil!


How else do you like using coffee grounds in your garden? For more gardening posts, including ways to garden on the cheap, please see my gardening page.

Additional reading around the web:


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